Practical training is defined as work experience in the student’s major field of study that can be conducted off-campus. Two types of practical training are available to international students: Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training. 

What is CPT?

Curricular Practice Training (CPT) is a temporary employment authorization that allows F-1 students to engage in an off campus academic internships or employment that is a required or an integral part of their academic curriculum.

  • Occurs before the student’s program end date on the Form I-20
  • Authorization is for one specific employer and for a specific period of time
  • Student must secure the training opportunity before CPT can be authorized

Types of CPT

  • Part-time: Up to 20 hours per week during the academic year (Fall, Spring and Summer)
  • Full-time: More than 20 hours or more per week (only available during Summer)
    • One year of full-time CPT eliminates a student’s eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT)


To be eligible to apply for CPT, students must:

  • Be in valid F-1 status
  • Have been lawfully enrolled full-time for at least one full academic year or will complete one year within 90 days of applying
  • Engage in work training that is integral part of their curriculum AND is directly related to the student's major area of study
  • Have secured an internship offer related to the major or field of study
  • Is not studying English as a second language
  • Will be enrolled in a major course that requires field work or an internship course (BUS 070A or BUS 070B)

Internship Courses

PCC students who engage in CPT must be concurrently enrolled in a clinical, fieldwork, practicum or internship course at the college to ensure you are meeting learning objectives related to your work-based learning.

In some majors, fieldwork, practicum or clinical work experience is required to graduate so you will be enrolled in your major's appropriate internship, fieldwork, practicum or clinical experience class. In majors that do not have this requirement, students will enroll in BUS 070A: Paid Internships or BUS 070B: Unpaid Internships to fulfill the learning objectives of your practical training. 

How to Apply for CPT

Secure the internship and obtain a job offer letter

1a. For students in majors with clinical, fieldwork or practicum classes: Your program director or instructor will likely secure or provide you with your internship. Follow the next step to get an employment letter. 

1b. For students in majors with no clinical, fieldwork or practicum classes: Speak with an Internship/Work Based Learning staff at the Freeman Center for Career and Completion if you need help finding an internship or if you already have an internship secured, to start your Curricular Practical Training authorization. 

2. Once you have secured an internship and/or met with a Work Based Learning staff, request a job offer letter from your employer. Students who are enrolled in majors with clinical, fieldwork or practicum classes should receive their job offer letter from their program director or clinical, fieldwork or practicum instructor.

The Work Based Learning Staff can also provide guidance in obtaining this letter. This letter should be in the company’s letterhead and include the following information:

- Employment start and end date
- Average number of hours or total number of hours of employment
- Indicate whether the training is full-time or part-time
- Indicate whether the training is paid or unpaid
- Indicate employer’s name; employer’s address; supervisor’s full name, telephone and email address; and brief explanation of duties

For students in majors with clinical, fieldwork or practicum classes: Enroll in the required clinical, field work or practium course and complete, with your program director or instructor, the Curricular Practical Training Request, or

For students in majors with no clinical, fieldwork or practicum classes: Enroll in the general internship course if your major does not require field work experience. To enroll in the general internship course, contact Dr. Kimberly Shediak, Faculty Lead, once you have secured the internship and have the job offer letter. Provide the following information in your email to Dr. Shediak:

  1. Explain your interest in enrolling in the BUS 070A or BUS 070B internship class and include in your email your three learning goals for your internship
  2. Attach your job offer letter (see Step #1 for details)
  3. Attach completed Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Request
  4. If the instructor approves your enrollment in the class, you will be provided a signed CPT Request and instructions on how to register for the internship class (BUS 070A or BUS070B)
Email CPT Request and copy of your job offer letter to your ISC Advisor or to 

You will receive an email confirmation once your CPT is authorized with the following: 

  1. A new I-20 with CPT authorization. Sign and date your CPT I-20
  2. Instructions on how to apply for a Social Security Number

You can start your internship as soon as you receive your Social Security Number and provide it to your employer.

If any details of your CPT change, please notify your ISC Advisor or email

Responsibilities While on CPT
  • CPT is only approved for the duration of the class
  • A new authorization is required each semester
  • Students cannot begin working until AFTER they have received CPT approval from ISC Advisor
  • Follow the rules of the CPT authorization. Do not work outside of the start and end dates or for another company
  • Continue to maintain full time enrollment unless approved for a Reduced Course Load
  • Report any changes in name, address, employer and loss of employment to ISC within 10 days of any change